Hayden Carruth’s ‘Twilight Comes’

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(Host) Honorary Poet Laureat of Vermont, Hayden Carruth, often incorporates images of seasonal change into his writing. From a VPR archive of a reading held in his honor in Montpelier, here is poet Jody Gladding reading Carruth’s poem “Twilight Comes.”

(Gladding) “Twilight Comes”, which is after Wang Wei, who was a T’ang Dynasty Chinese poet.

Twilight comes to the little farm
At winter’s end. The snowbanks
High as the eaves, which melted
And became pitted during the day,
Are freezing again, and crunch
Under the dog’s foot. The mountains
From their place behind our shoulders
Lean close a moment, as if for a
Final inspection, but with kindness,
A benediction as the darkness
Falls. It is my fiftieth year. Stars
Come out, one by one with a softer
Brightness, like the first flowers
Of spring. I hear the brook stirring,
Trying its music beneath the ice.
I hear – almost, I am not certain –
Remote tinklings; perhaps sheepbells
On the green side of a juniper hill
Or wineglasses on a summer night.
But no. My wife is at her work,
There behind yellow windows. Supper
Will be soon. I crunch the icy snow
And tilt my head to study the last
Silvery light of the western sky
In the pine boughs. l smile. Then
I smile again, just because I can.
I am not an old man. Not yet.

From a VPR archive of readings held in honor of poet Hayden Carruth, Jody Gladding of East Calais read “Twilight Comes.” Carruth’s poems are published by Copper Canyon Press.

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